Would ‘Stand Your Ground’ law affect Highland County self-defense shooting? Legal expert says yes

911 calls released in Highland County attempted home invasion

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The case of a 29-year-old trying to break into a home in Highland County is still under investigation.

But after a recording of the 911 call was released by the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, questions have arisen whether the homeowner, who shot the man dead, could be charged with a crime.

The question is particularly relevant in the face of Tuesday’s news that ‘Stand Your Ground’ legislation was introduced to the Ohio Senate.

Would the legislation—Senate bill 237—have protected the man if it were in place today?

The short answer, according to a local attorney, is yes.

The incident occurred Monday morning shortly before 10:40 a.m., when the homeowner called 911 saying he’d just shot another man trying to break into his house.

“I just shot this guy,” the homeowner told the dispatcher. “He tried to attack me. Tried to get in my back door and everything.”

The homeowner said he and his wife were eating breakfast when the man, whom he describes as being in his thirties, tried to get in their home’s back door and said he was going to kill them.

“I’ve never seen his face before in my life,” the homeowner said.

The man allegedly went into the garage, then the homeowner came out the front door of his house with a gun.

This is the part FOX19 NOW Legal Analyst Mark Krumbein says is questionable under current self-defense law.

When the homeowner left his home, Krumbein said, he assumed a ‘duty to retreat.’

But then the man charged the homeowner, leading the homeowner to shoot him in the chest—and that, Krumbein says, is the crucial detail under current law.

“He was running at me,” the homeowner said describing the situation. “He said he was going to kill me.”

“Oh, he was chasing you in the front yard?” The dispatcher asked.

“Yes,” the homeowner replied, adding that he could not see the man’s hands.

“I think it’s just regular old-fashioned self-defense,” Krumbein explained after listening to the tape.

Still, even if there were questions about the incident under current law, Krumbein says bill 237 would quickly erase them.

Related | Ohio lawmaker proposes bill that would allow person to use deadly force in self-defense

In other words, there be no question about the legality of the homeowner shooting the man even though he came out of his own house to do so.

“If the proposed law was in effect, then you can stand your ground wherever you want. If you are in a parking garage, if you are in a park, if you are in your own front yard,” Krumbein said. “You have no duty to retreat or run from danger.”

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